Stamp Madness Stampionship Begins

Two contemporary stamps from Canada and New Zealand issued in the same year in the aftermath of World War II have reached the championship round of the American Philatelic Society’s inaugural Stamp Madness contest. The finalists prevailed over 14 other stamps via popular votes in the bracket-style contest held over the past few weeks through Facebook and Twitter.

The public and APS members are encouraged to vote for their favorite through this link. Those voting in this round will be eligible for philatelic prizes after the contest ends at midnight April 10. A random draw will be made from those picking the winning stamp. Prizes also will be rewarded from our Predict the Winner Preview contest. Prizes include books with stamps from the U.S. Postal Service and copies of the new APS book, Cataloging U.S. Commemorative Stamps (2016), by Charles Posner.

Both the Canada and New Zealand stamps overcame some negative odds to reach the finals, including both scoring triumphs over entries from the United States.

Please vote to make your favorite the 2017 Stamp Madness champion.

Canada, from our Americas bracket, is the Eastern (sometimes Ontario) Farm scene stamp (Scott catalog No. 268) of 1946. The stamp defeated Chad Crafts stamp in the first round, the India Taj Mahal in the second, and just bested the U.S. World’s Fair stamp in the semifinals by securing a solid 63 percent of the vote. The stamp illustrates vital farm products and activities. The scene is a composite from four photographs. The farm house is from a photograph taken in Eastern Ontario, the barn from a farm in Western Ontario, the silo from Central Ontario, and the ploughmen and horses from Quebec. Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz, vignette engraved by Warrell Hauck, and printed by Canadian Bank Note Co.

New Zealand, which we had seeded No. 4 in the Pacific Division, features the Southern Alps and Chapel (Scott 256) and is part of the New Zealand Peace and Victory stamps, a set of 11 produced by Bradbury Wilkinson. The 9-cent stamp, dubbed A Spirit of Thankfulness, shows the chapel window at Waiho Gorge. The Franz Josef Glacier can be seen through the window. This stamp has done very well in Stamp Madness. In the opening round, it defeated a Switzerland showing alpine viaducts, and it followed with a somewhat stunning victory over the pre-tournament favorite, the U.S. Project Mercury of 1962. In a close semifinal, New Zealand turned back the Laos Elephants stamp of 1958 by capturing 53 percent.

There were four brackets with four seeded contestants in each. The entire Europe and Afro-India fields have been eliminated, leaving stamps from the Americas and the Pacific divisions.

Here were our guidelines for picking the contestants. Choosing the field of just 16 special stamps for 2017 Stamp Madness wasn’t easy. Think about it: hundreds of thousands of stamps created worldwide since 1840. We needed a few guidelines to narrow the field. Here were the basic guidelines we used:

• Standard postage stamps only; no airmail, express mail, revenue stamps, etc.

• No specific images of individuals – kings, queens, scientists, musicians, etc.

• Avoid masterwork paintings and photos (statuary and buildings OK).

• Tried to be diverse to designs, colors, topics, and countries. Independent countries only, no colonies.

• No rarities – common stamps only.

• Stamps chosen are from post-WWII through 1970.

Staff members and APS officers are urged to vote, but are ineligible for prizes.

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